Appearances can be deceiving, I hope.

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I realized one afternoon that I desperately needed to pick something up from the store for dinner. The store I wanted to buy it from was very close to the women’s center where I needed to drop off my children’s excess toys. I debated whether I had time to do both before getting home to start dinner. It would be tight, but I hated to miss the opportunity to get rid of all that stuff in my trunk. I decided to go for it, sacrificing instead the need to look presentable. I threw a sweater over my ratty house-cleaning clothes, grabbed the kids, and headed for the door.

At the women’s center, my children saw toys they wanted, but I was there specifically to get RID of the over-abundant amount they already had thanks to overly zealous, perhaps overly generous relatives and friends. A minor scene ensued, naturally. The three big kids were whining and crying. I was carrying the baby in one arm and bending and reaching to corral the three with my other arm. Little did I know until I got back to the van that the baby, coupled with my erratic arm movements, had shifted my sweater to the point of revealing a large portion of my graying, holey t-shirt and my bra. I looked a mess.

No wonder the woman at the center had said, “Just so you know we offer free parenting classes.”

A little shocked and insulted, I just said, “Okay, thank you” and left. I mean, my kids hadn’t been that bad. But coupled with my appearance, I wasn’t too surprised that she watched us leave the store with a concerned expression of, “Boy, I sure hope that woman comes for the classes!”

Becky, mother of 4

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